Study Sheds Light On How A Brain On Ayahuasca's Psychedelic Component Looks

A new study reveals the most advanced-to-date brain images of the effects of the psychedelic compound DMT.

The trial, led by a group at Imperial College London, monitored brain activity of 20 healthy volunteers receiving either a 20mg DMT injection or a placebo through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) before, during and after the psychedelic session.

Findings demonstrate how the brain’s normal structures change their standard hierarchical modes towards a more fluid and flexible communication and connectivity between regions related to imagination, language, memory and other higher-level functions.

See Also: EXCLUSIVE - The Psychedelics Debate Is 'Raging' As Filament Debuts Ayahuasca Pill

“At the dose we use, it is incredibly potent,” said neurology and psychiatry professor at UCSF Robin Carhart-Harris. “What we have seen is that DMT breaks down the basic networks of the brain, causing them to become less distinct from each other. We also see the major rhythms of the brain – that serve a largely inhibitory, constraining function – break down, and in concert, brain activity becomes more entropic or information-rich,” characteristics that had been enumerated before and are now confirmed by the imaging.

The stronger the intensity of the experience, the more hyperconnected were those brain areas, study head Chris Timmermann explained.

DMT is short-acting, which makes it “a very flexible tool,” he added.

See Also: Psychedelic Scientist Robin Carhart-Harris Leads The Research Rennaissance

The combination of scans and EEGs has provided an advanced glance of the brain on DMT; nonetheless, the researchers suspect that “while the newer, more evolved aspects of the brain dysregulate under DMT, older systems in the brain may be disinhibited,” such as happens in dreams. 

“This is just the beginning in cracking the question of how DMT works to alter consciousness so dramatically,” Carhart-Harris concluded. 

Photo: Benzinga edit with photo by CDC on Pexels and Jynto on Wikimedia Commons.

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Posted In: CannabisNewsPsychedelicsGuidanceGlobalTop StoriesMarketsDMTPsychedelic-Assisted Therapies
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